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(61:57, Julien Martinoia)
TRACK LIST: 1. Leave You Now 7:34 2. Never Go Back Home 6:18 3. No Destination 6:48 4. The Road 6:14 5. My Victory 6:08 6. It Can't Be Enough 4:35 7. Earthquake 5:56 8. Warm Wind 6:33 9. I'm Fading 6:49 10. Already the End 5:02 LINEUP: Julien Martinoia - vocals, all instruments
Prolusion. French composer and musician Julien Martinoia has been an active recording artist for more than ten years, with two initial demo productions to his name which has been followed by two studio albums so far. "The Insight" is the most recent of the latter, and was self-released in 2016.
Analysis. As far as progressive rock goes, Martinoia's second solo album isn't the most sophisticated of productions. The main focus is on compelling melodies, and in the progressive aspect of matters it is the use of contrasting gentler and harder edged passages, alongside rudimentary tempo changes, that are the main features. Occasional use of atmospheric laden interludes another feature relevant in this general context. In short: More of an art rock production than a full blown progressive rock production, and one that in theory should have a relatively broad appeal. Martinoia has a good ear for a compelling melody, and an equally good ear in setting up contrasting sequences. The manner in which he has assembles his compositions and how he explore his melody lines are among the big strengths of this production, and you can hear that he is a talented guy in those departments. The production isn't half bad either, although initially I rather thought it was on the weak side. This impression was, however, caused by other factors, and these are among the numerous major and massive drawbacks of this album. The drums are by and large one-dimensional and comes across as rather synthetic. Much the same with the bass guitar, at least in the situations where it is highlighted. Many of the sections featuring plucked guitar motifs are pretty much the same, and the electric guitars are, for the most part, on the horrible side. How many of them that are emulated keyboard instruments of a lesser quality and how many that are merely badly mixed real instruments I cannot tell, but all of them add a distinct less than professional vibe to this album. In addition Martinoia isn't a strong vocalist, with a voice that has a strong tendency to waver. With a distinct accent and at times peculiar pronunciation added to this, the vocals is a weak point throughout as well. The piano, keyboards and symphonic oriented arrangements are the main strong points throughout, alongside the strength of the core ideas of these compositions. But as a whole, the impression is that this is an album rather on the weak side, and one that comes across as a low quality promo rather than a well made, thorough studio production.
Conclusion. The main audience of this album would be those that favor accessible and easygoing music of the kind that was often described as art rock rather than progressive rock, music that often had a strong footprint inside mainstream rock and perhaps not quite as much of a progressive spirit to it. Numerous weak instrument details and lead vocals also lacking in natural quality will be detrimental to the size of the audience that will appreciate this album however, but those that know that they can overlook such imperfections to revel in the talents hidden underneath and with a general taste for this type of music may want to give this album a check.
Progmessor: January 27th, 2018
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